Port Talbot UFOs: A love letter to the town in pictures

Port Talbot UFO Investigation ClubImage source, Port Talbot UFO Investigation Club

Image caption,

Port Talbot UFO Investigation Club is a portrait of the town’s landscape and its characters

By Michael Burgess

BBC News

“Port Talbot is a dreamland,” says Roo Lewis. “It’s like a dream.”

The Dorset-born photographer is talking about his latest project: Port Talbot UFO Investigation Club.

Despite the title, the book is not about analysing claims of spherical flying objects carrying extra terrestrial life, but rather an intimate portrait of the town’s landscape and some of its more interesting and eccentric characters.

Taken over a two-year period, the images provide an often unseen side to the steel town.

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

Sports presenter Gabriella Jukes on Mynydd Dinas

“My grandad was a proud Welshman,” said Roo. “He grew up in Milford Haven and he would mix and deliver lubricants and oil for big lathes, one of which was at Port Talbot steelworks.

“We would drive past the steelworks and he would say it was a space station.

“And it’s always been in my head that there was this enchanted land there, so I had to come in and explore it.”

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

A washing line hangs over Margam

It was during Roo’s exploration of the town that he came to appreciate that there was a lot more to Port Talbot than its industrial, smoke-strewn skyline.

“What you’ve actually got are these beautiful mountains, these beautiful dunes, one of the longest beaches in Wales, beautiful reservoirs and lakes,” he said.

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

A swimmer cools off in one of the town’s reservoirs

“And I just thought, this is like a photographer’s dream.”

Roo lamented the negative portrayal of the town due to its industrial heritage.

“It’s easy to tell negative stories. It’s not easy to elevate it. You really have to understand the feeling and the culture and the emotion there.”

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

Terry Allen, who helped build the motorway alongside the town, and then slept under it for years

And in searching for that understanding, Roo had to reach out to some of the town’s more interesting personalities.

During his two years back and forth to the town, the photographer captured the portraits of Port Talbot’s Captain Beany, Pancho of Dirty Sanchez fame, Michael Sheen’s father Meyrick Sheen and many others.

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

Port Talbot’s Captain Beany, owner and curator of the UK’s only bean museum

“There’s a wonderful rhythm to the Welsh accent that lends itself to storytelling.

“And I think we learn best as humans through storytelling.”

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

Michael Locke, also known as Pancho from comedy series Dirty Sanchez

“I put posters saying ‘Have you seen a UFO?’ and that got a lot of attention.

“And that got a lot of people talking to me about the town and you meet all sorts of people.”

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

Gym manager Jo-Anna Roberts strikes a pose

And it was the people that intrigued him most.

“You can laugh with the absurdity of it, but we’re not laughing at it.

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

The Cymric male voice choir gather for a song overlooking the town

“It is meant to be a love letter to the town and I think Port Talbot is like a dream.”

More than anything, Roo hopes the book will give people a new perspective of the town.

Image source, Roo Lewis

Image caption,

The smoke and steel of the Port Talbot skyline at night

“It’s almost like the steelworks is like furniture pointing towards the TV.

“And if you care to look the other way, there are so many other things to see.”

Port Talbot UFO Investigation Club is published by GOST books

More on this story

Por Ovnis

Deja un comentario

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *